Fatal Accident at Water Slide and Ferris Wheel Incident Raise Questions About Rides

Two accidents at fairgrounds and amusement park just days apart have again raised questions about the safety of rides.

I was saddened to read about the death of the 10-year-old son of a Kansas state legislator, who died over the weekend on the world's tallest water slide.

Kansas City Police said the boy suffered a neck injury. The circumstances of the death of Caleb Thomas Schwab in the pool at the end of the ride are still under investigation.

This was a horrible incident on what should have been a happy day at the water park. It raises questions about the safety of rides as they become more and more extreme.

The water ride at the Schlitterbahn water park is extreme. It involves riders plummeting down a 168 foot 7-inch structure.

However, the other ride that made headlines this week was a traditional Ferris wheel at a county fair in Tennessee.

Three girls were injured when a basket overturned. They fell 35 to 45 feet, according to reports.

Three girls were injured after they fell from a Ferris wheel at a county fair in eastern Tennessee, police said Monday evening. They bounced off the metal bridging of the ride and hit the ground, reports stated.

All rides remained closed at the Greene County Fair in the wake of the accident. Miraculously, all three girls survived this terrifying incident, although one is reported to be in intensive care for treatment of a head injury.

Eyewitnesses said the car the girls were riding in appeared to "get caught" as the wheel lifted a TV station reported.

Although we might think accidents at rides at fairgrounds, water parks, and theme parks are rare, safety bodies report thousands of injuries every year.

Statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission found as many as 45,000 injuries are associated with amusement rides and water slides every year. The majority of these – more than 30,000 involved people under the age of 18. We seldom hear about amusement park accidents unless they are major.

Neck and head injuries were the most common at 28 percent, with 1.5 percent of the theme park and water park injuries requiring hospitalization, the study said.

Hampton Roads has many roller coasters, water rides, and fairgrounds. We have Busch Gardens, Water County, King’s Dominion and Ocean Breeze. If you or your child has suffered an injury on a ride, you may be entitled to sue the operator or park owner. Call our experienced premises liability team at (757) 455-0077 or see our premises liability page.

Griff O'Hanlon


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